The West

Flying angels on watch to save lives
Picture: RAC rescue helicopter

Search and rescue pilot Dave Shaw sees too often the carnage wrought on country roads.

Mangled cars wrapped around trees like crushed tin cans. Dead and injured adults and children.

But to fly the injured and his crew quickly and safely to hospital those images are the last thing he can dwell on.

“Especially if it’s late at night or bad weather ... you can’t think about the devastation and injuries you’ve just witnessed,” he said.

“You have to focus 100 per cent on the flying.”

Capt. Shaw is one of four pilots who, along with eight critical care paramedics and four rescue crewman, man the Fire and Emergency Services Authority’s RAC rescue helicopter.

With the ability to access any location in the State, the rescue helicopter is most effective within 250km of Perth where it can get to a scene and back to a hospital without having to refuel.

Capt. Shaw said it was vital to pinpoint the location of a crash to get victims medical help quickly.

Often those who reported crashes were the injured or panicked bystanders who were unsure of where they were.

He recommended people use smartphone apps, such as a compass app that gave a longitude and latitude, to provide exact locations to emergency services.

The West Australian

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